Scott names managed care exec. to head Fla. agency


Published: Friday, January 21, 2011 at 4:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 21, 2011 at 4:00 p.m.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Rick Scott dipped into the health care industry, where he made millions, to find an executive with a reputation for cost cutting to head a much-criticized agency that oversees Florida's state buildings, purchasing and personnel.

Jack Miles, most recently a senior director of CIGNA, was appointed Friday by the new Republican governor as secretary of the Department of Management Services. The former sourcing and supply executive from Winter Park was credited with setting a record by cutting $80 million in costs for the health management and insurance company in just 20 months.

"State government has to learn to live within its means, and Jack Miles will make sure our state spends taxpayer dollars more wisely as we tighten the belt across the entire government," Scott said in a statement.

Florida faces a $3.6 billion to $4.6 billion gap between anticipated revenue for the next budget year, which starts July 1, and the most high priority and critical state spending priorities. Scott also is proposing school property and corporate income tax cuts that would balloon the impending shortfall by another $2 billion.

Scott earlier this week criticized the state's purchasing practices.

"We don't do a good enough job on how we buy things," Scott said at the annual legislative planning session for newspaper editors and broadcasters hosted by The Associated Press.

In one of his first acts as governor, Scott put a hold on pending contracts worth $1 million or more by agencies under his control until his office can review them. It has since approved dozens of contracts, canceling none so far.

Lawmakers have been critical of Management Services over its building construction, maintenance and leasing functions. That includes a new $48.8 million courthouse in Tallahassee derided as a "Taj Mahal."

Leaders of both Republican-controlled legislative chambers said they look forward to working with Miles and Scott to fix what House Speaker Dean Cannon called "serious organic flaws" in the department.

Senate President Mike Haridoppolos, R-Merritt Island, said Miles "will bring business acumen to his agency and play a critical role in helping the Legislature and Gov. Scott streamline state contracts so that we reduce spending in a smart way."

Cannon, R-Winter Park, noted the Legislature last year passed a bill that would have required the governor to share his authority over the department with the three independently elected Cabinet members, but former Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed the measure.

Lawmakers were scheduled to consider an override at a special session, but Cannon and Haridopolos agreed to cancel the vote at the request of Scott, then governor-elect.

Florida Chamber of Commerce Chairman Allan Bense, a former House speaker, praised the appointment, saying "Jack Miles brings the expertise needed to help government run more like a business."

Before joining CIGNA, Miles was vice president of global procurement at CA, formerly Computer Associates. The Navy veteran's 30-year business career also included stints as chief of procurement for American International Group and as senior vice president and chief procurement officer for Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

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